The Crush at Napier (Screenplay)

My first and greatest screen crush of all time, Rachel Weisz as Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy (1999). It didn’t help a single iota that there was a girl in my high school year level, who possessed the same curly hair, thin eyebrows and delicate beauty. I was too shy to say anything, even though I longed to. Would I meet her today, would probably still freeze up today.

INT. UPSCALE CAFE

The NAPIER QUARTER is a bustling, vibrant and elegant Melburnian cafe, with plenty of people coming in and out, ranging from hipster types with long beards and trilbies to suited up office workers, eager to get their fix of caffeine.

French lounge is playing softly from speakers, and there is just enough noise to create a gentle murmur to the cosy, intimate environment. It is late afternoon and there is a relaxed air to the interior, people are already mentally preparing themselves for their ride home and post-work activities.

At the window sits, EVELYN, the perfect cross between the two demographics that attend Napier Quarter. She is an attractive woman in her late 20s, confident, and poised, her dark brown curly hair tied up in a loose bun. She is wearing a white cardigan, and a minimalist shawl over the top to fight against the chill. She is nursing a cup of warm coffee in her hands and blowing on it gently to cool it down, as she stares out, absent-mindlessly at the traffic that goes by.

Behind her, DAVID is leaning on a counter, chatting to the barista about his coffee and how only Napier seem to get it right every time. David is handsome, lofty in his disposition and lean. With his crew-cut hairstyle, and his old-school black vest, white shirt and tapered suit pants combination, he looks like a stylised, updated gangster straight out Peaky Blinders. Possessing a stunningly disarming smile, dark hair and blue eyes, David could easily charm his way out of trouble and often did.

With a thankful smile he lifts the reusable coffee mug he bought in salute.

DAVID

Thanks man. I’ll see you tomorrow!

As David leaves the front door, he turns and continue to walk, until he spots Evelyn in the mirror.

He stops and gives her a puzzled look. Evelyn returns the look, before both smile. David saunters back to the cafe, coffee in hand, and gives her his sunniest smile, his head poking around the door frame, amusingly.

DAVID

I know you from somewhere don’t I?

EVELYN

Yeah …. I think so. You look familiar too … I ….

DAVID

*snaps his fingers* High school! Ummm …. Evelyn right?

EVELYN

Oh my god. Yes! David, right?

David laughs delightedly and pulls out the stool next to her. He turns to face her and is slightly awestruck by her looks.

DAVID

How have you been? What are you up to nowadays?

EVELYN

Not much. I’m just here, enjoying my lunch break.

DAVID

Where do you work nowadays?

EVELYN

I’m afraid it’s nothing too glamorous or flashy. I work for an accounting firm.

David shoots her one of his disarming smiles. Evelyn is visibly distracted by the transformation that she is seeing before her. David used to be much more quiet and chubbier than she last saw him.

DAVID

That’s .. funny … I …

EVELYN

(interrupts) What happened to … I mean sorry, you go on.

DAVID

I was going to say, I never saw you as a math girl. I remember you use to read all the time.

EVELYN

(small laugh) Oh yes. I still do. I just switched over to audiobooks.

She makes a gesture to her wireless headphones, before shyly continuing.

EVELYN

I’m actually currently listening to an maths audiobook right now actually. I only just got the job recently, so I’m trying to catch up as much as I can.

DAVID

Wow, that’s clever (laughing). I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon Evelyn. You were always one of the smartest and prettiest girls in our high school. Anyway, what were you going to ask me before?

EVELYN

(blushing) Thanks. I was just going to ask you … you … you’ve shaped up very nicely yourself.

DAVID

I … thanks. You know, I hope it’s not too much of a personal question, but are you seeing anyone at the moment?

EVELYN

What? I … No, I’m not.

DAVID

I had the biggest crush on you in school. I actually always wanted to ask you out. Do you remember when we walked a little bit of the way home together?

EVELYN

I do actually.

DAVID

I was going to ask you out then, but I was too shy (laughing)

Evelyn joins in David’s laughter. She seriously considers his question.

EVELYN

Now I’m the shy one.

DAVID

How the times have changed huh? (raises eyebrow) Does a Friday, 7.30pm suit you?

EVELYN

Are you seriously asking me out?

DAVID

I am.

EVELYN

(pauses) Alright, I’ll bite. It’s a date.

David flashes one of his infectious smiles and Evelyn returns it.

DAVID

I’m glad I ordered a coffee today and bumped into you. It’s nice catching with you Evelyn. Here’s my card.

David proffers his business card and she reaches out, pausing ever so slightly longer than usual to grab the card. She looks up at him, surprised by his occupation.

EVELYN

You run your own restaurant?

DAVID

And … I’ll be cooking for you. Don’t be late. Lobster bisques are always tricky to create. It’s lovely to see you again Evelyn. Wear something nice and come in with an empty stomach.

David winks at Evelyn, and daringly gives her a peck on the cheek, leaving her flushed, as he disappears out the door and waves merrily to her through the window before dashing to his car.

Evelyn stares out, still surprised by the sudden reappearance of a changed high-school acquaintance, before cupping her coffee with both hands and taking a cosy sip, smiling as she does so. She looks down at the card and stares wistfully out at the traffic once more.

Author’s Note

Easily the most wish-fulfillment screenplay I’ve written yet, with more sickening self-insert references to myself than ever before, this one was difficult to write for some odd reason.

When you put too much of yourself in, you actually become more lost and confused about how the story should go. Hence I, more or less, wanted to get this written and over and done with. I will say, I am happier with it, than when I was writing it, but overall am displeased with the flow and the overall structure of this screenplay.

However, it is a short scene and it is meant to capture some of that fleeting feeling one experiences when you want to catch up with someone longer, but life pulls you in another direction.

As I have mentioned before, regardless of how horrible something is, I shall publish it, because to throw away all my poor writing is to be ashamed of it, and honestly … I learn more from my struggles than my smooth writings.

Until the next one!

~ Damocles.

The American from Europe (Screenplay)

Akaiito – Modern Japanese Restaurant/Bar in Melbourne.

INT. RESTAURANT

The underground bar is well lit and accented by red stripes that give the atmosphere an attractive, seductive glow. The place is busy, with waiters busily attending tables and patrons laughing, chatting excitedly about their week.

However in the very far back, in an all red booth, are seated an attractive couple; DANIEL and EVELYN. Daniel is the classic young, American whose temperment has been softened by Europe’s culture. Evelyn is an older woman, still in excellent shape, and with a fun English vibe. They are both dressed in classic cocktail evening wear; Evelyn wearing a simple black dress that emphasise her curves, accessorised with a string of pearls around her neck. Daniel is more casual, with an elegant black and white suit combination, the top two buttons on his shirt are undone, and his bow tie is hanging loosely around his collar.

They command attention with their poise and charisma and people can be seen looking in their direction distractedly, entranced by this power couple.

The beginnings of a meal is scattered on their table and Daniel lifts his glass to sip at his cocktail, mirroring Evelyn’s movement. Neither of them are bothered by the attention they seem to attract.

DANIEL

No … I don’t have a plan yet.

EVELYN

That’s unlike you Danny, dear.

DANIEL

I just got out.

EVELYN

How long was it again? 2 years?

DANIEL

and … 3 months, but I wasn’t really keeping track.

EVELYN

No doubt, those extra 3 months helped you reformed …

DANIEL

It’s only been 2 days since I was a citizen again.

EVELYN

Yet here we are, eating and drinking like a couple would.

DANIEL

I only thought of you, whilst locked away, Evy.

Evelyn laughs uproariously, and places a hand on Daniel’s cheek. Daniel gives her, his most roguish and flirtatious smile.

EVELYN

I see that brazen American inside of you coming out. Europe has not softened you at all.

DANIEL

I made sure if I was to go away, it was to be as comfortable as possible. Italy seemed appropriate.

EVELYN

(smiling) Come on, Danny. Don’t tease me like this … haven’t I been good to you?

Daniel gives her a mischievous look and leans in, close to her ears. Evelyn, holding her drink away, listens intently as Daniel whispers.

She reels back after the final sentence and stares incredulously at Daniel. Daniel shrugs back at her nonchalantly and takes another drink, before motioning the waiter over.

DANIEL

We’ll have our main courses now. Can you please give the lady your Robata toothfish and I’ll be having the Lobster tempura. In addition, can you get us your Akaiito Deluxe Nigiri Platter and I’ll try your Spice and Ice cocktail.

How about you, Evy? Another drink?

EVELYN

(recovering from her shock) I’ll have one of your Niigata cold sake. Thank you.

WAITER

Of course. I’ll be right back with your meals shortly!

Daniel waited until the waiter was out of earshot, before smiling at Evelyn, who lightly slaps him on the shoulder, in a angry but playful manner.

EVELYN

Bastard. I should have you shipped back to Italy for that little stunt. You always find such naughty ways to embarrass me.

DANIEL

Forgive me Evy. Being locked away has robbed me of my manners.

EVELYN

You’re lucky, you are my favourite protege.

DANIEL

Well, you are my favourite patron. So the feeling is mutual. I do owe most of my success to you.

EVELYN

And don’t you forget it, you impudent rogue. Now, tell me more about this job.

Daniel let the mischievous air drop and a cunning expression crept across his handsome features.

DANIEL

(quietly and seriously) It’s never been tried. At least … not by someone like me.

EVELYN

You mean, by a well financed, professional collector with a shady past and thieving fingers?

DANIEL

(waving his hands around with the flair of a magician) Abracadabra, your wish is my command Evy.

EVELYN

(laughing) Come one Danny, try to be serious, darling.

DANIEL

(smirking) Very well, as I was saying, before an attractive woman interrupted me, it’s never been tried. Never in this country. For a place with such a strong criminal history, people here are very law-abiding. Naturally, I don’t want to raise a big furore in a place like this, but it is very untested here.

EVELYN

How do you know that?

DANIEL

Let’s just say, the past 27 months weren’t all in vain, Evy.

Evelyn looks at Daniel, and notes his serious expression. There is a pregnant pause as she considers what he just said. Just as the answer dawns on her, the waiter interrupts with their meal.

WAITER

I have here, a Robata toothfish and a sake?

Evelyn motions to her side of the table, still staring at Daniel.

WAITER

And …. the Lobster Tempura and Spice and Ice cocktail?

DANIEL

Thank you, kindly.

WAITER

Enjoy your meal!

As the Waiter waltzes off, Evelyn continued to stare at Daniel, as he takes an appreciative bite of the lobster.

EVELYN

You mean to tell me, that you locked yourself away for 2 years … on purpose?!? What on earth for?

Daniel looks sideways at Evelyn and smiles enigmatically. He continues to focus on his meal, preferring her to digest the news he is telling her. Evelyn is pointedly ignoring her food. The mystery is consuming her.

EVELYN

You allowed yourself to get captured … I should have known better than to assume that you would ever get caught at a diamond exchange. 27 months … there was someone in that prison. You wanted to get sent to that specific prison didn’t you. My God … did you meet Renard?

Daniel nods proudly and takes a sip from his cocktail.

DANIEL

I was only meant to stay in that shit-hole for 12 months. But there was so much I needed to learn.

EVELYN

So you caused a ruckus and made sure you were stuck there for another year …

DANIEL

I got an extra 3 months for insubordination. The Warden was happy to see me go. Renard … less so.

EVELYN

You chose to lock yourself away for research purposes. Even by your standards Danny, that is insane.

DANIEL

Titian demands that level of research.

EVELYN

It must have annoyed you to know that the Venus of Urbino was going to be moved to here.

DANIEL

Actually, on the contrary, I was relieved. Renard had told me of the difficulties he faced against the Antiquities Squad in Rome. Hopefully the Australian variant will prove less tenacious.

EVELYN

So the plan I assume is a trip to Southbank?

Daniel nods as he finishes up his meal.

DANIEL

I hear the opera is lovely this time of the year. I’ve always wanted to catch the finale show.

Evelyn looks at Daniel, her eyes trying to penetrate her favourite thief’s inscrutable mind.

EVELYN

You clever bastard.

DANIEL

As I said, Evy … 27 months weren’t spent in vain. I want that Venus as much as you do.

Daniel motions to the waiter once more with a flirtatious smile which is returned.

WAITER

Hi, how can I help you again?

DANIEL

Just two of your Apple Tarts please. You’re doing an amazing job tonight.

WAITER.

Thank you so much. I’ll put the order through for you!

DANIEL

Thanks sweetheart.

Evelyn looks over at Daniel curious and with renewed respect.

EVELYN

You’re practising aren’t you?

DANIEL

Was it that obvious?

EVELYN

Only if a girl has known you for more than an week. I assume all this flirtation is for the job at hand. The string of hearts you leave broken behind you ….

DANIEL

Good thing I never stay anywhere longer than 24 hours.

EVELYN

But you’ll stay for your Venus.

DANIEL

(chuckling) Well, there is always one is there? Besides I heard you were in town.

EVELYN

I should have never accepted those tickets, you sly rogue, you. But thank you. Am I the first person you visited?

Daniel pauses as the desserts arrives. He smiles at the waitress and nods appreciatively as she pauses a second longer than necessary to maintain eye contact. He pointedly ignores her question.

DANIEL

I’m in the cultural capital of Australia. It would be shame if I didn’t stay to enjoy the art.

EVELYN

(with bemusement) Amongst other things … I do wonder, my dear Danny, how did you ever give your parole officer the slip?

DANIEL

I have a VPN … (smiling) I’m kidding. An old friend is posing for me back in Rome.

EVELYN

Not that despicable Rory?

DANIEL

The one and the same.

EVELYN

Next time you see him, remind him of the diamond he stills owns me.

Daniel smiles and chuckles to himself as if he remembers seeing the exact diamonds, the last time he saw Rory. Evelyn takes an appreciative bite of the Apple tart in front of her.

EVELYN

You know Danny, you never told me why you want this Venus as much as you do now. Don’t say that just because I want it for my private viewing, means you are equally entranced. What is the real reason?

DANIEL

27 months … is a long time to think about anything. I only ever gave one man my attention. Titian. I can tell you everything about the guy. How he died, where he lived … what brushes he liked to use … I can identify every single one of his paintwork by brushwork alone.

(pauses in reflection)

More importantly, Renard has never stolen a Titian. He told me just before I left, I was to continue his work. I aim to do just that … I will become the new Fox.

Evelyn nods in approval. She raises her glass silently and they toast together, to a new legend of a thief and the daring art heist that will rock Melbourne to the core.

Author’s Note

I seem to have a fixation on writing scenes in bars. Perhaps it’s my own personal vice coming through, but bar conversations just seem to have a life and rhythm of their own, in comparison to other settings.

I have obviously modelled this screenplay of the idea of An American in Europe, in particular, George Clooney, who has always struck me as a very unique American male role model.

While he possesses the accent and upbringing of an American, he is clearly a much more Europhile at heart, judging from his enthusiastic endorsement of coffee, his tailoring, his films (The American (2010) is an excellent example) and his enviable Lake Como estate. Even his wife, after years of self-imposed bachelorhood, is a quintessential European beauty, with the brains and wits to match.

I have always found this a vaguely, romantic notion, that American movie stars can have the looks and charms of an All-American, whilst retaining a sophisticated European sense of style and mannerism, as they used to in the old days of Sinatra, Bogart, Hepburn, Kelly and other icons of the Golden Era.

Clooney, with his handsome looks, mannerisms and sophistication gives me a similar impression. I tried to make Daniel (a clear reference to Clooney’s best known character, Daniel Ocean from the Ocean Trilogy) similar, in that sense. I was also basing a tiny bit of the character on Napoleon Solo from the film The Man from U.N.C.L.E . (2010) which features a character exactly as I described … an American thief, with European affectations.

Evelyn’s design was more or less tailored around the always wonderful female characters that seem to inhabit British gangster films. She’s greedy, fun, petty and powerful. I had a lot of fun putting little British touches in her dialogue and honestly, she was quite easy to write.

One day though, I will have to write a proper heist sequence, explaining in how detail how one of my heists would actually be pulled off.

Until the next one!

~ Damocles

Seduction (Screenplay)

Hitch (2005) – Paula Patton in the early 2000s was so attractive that even a cameo was enough to blow my breath away and temporarily make me forget, I was meant to be crushing on Eva Mendes.

INT. UPSCALE BAR

The Upscale Bar is busy, but not exceedingly so and the sound of modern pop lounge suffuses the atmosphere. Friends are hanging out, having a good time, laughing at inside jokes, whilst couples cosy up to each other in booths with glasses of champagne in hand.

The lighting is soft but dark, just enough to create a sense of intimacy and disguise any ugly features on people’s faces. It’s the type of place that makes people look, feel and behave better than they normally do.

At the bar, leans RYDER, a lean, sharp and intelligent man with a natural charisma and confidence that makes life look easy. He’s casually dressed in a suit, with just enough buttons undone to say he is dressed for a party, despite the expensive cut. He surveys the area with all the natural perchance of a King. This is his domain.

RYDER

Yo, Alex, over here!

ALEX the Bartender dances over, his hands polishing a glass as he does so. Their natural rapport indicate that Ryder is a regular here.

ALEX

Ryder, my man. You’re early today. You want your usual?

RYDER

Yes please.

ALEX

One Mojito comin’ right up!

Ryder turns away as Alex begins to mix his drink and surveys the room again.

His eyes catches sight of a girl sitting alone in a lounge chair. She is attractive, in a street smart, witty way.

Her clothes indicate that she had just finished work and is now trying to relax, but something is stopping her from doing so. Ryder scans her up and down, and smiles. He spins around at Alex, who is in the middle of shaking his cocktail.

RYDER

Alex, who’s the brunette in the centre over there?

ALEX

Oh her? She’s a journalist. Not a regular otherwise you woulda messed with her already. *laughs* But she’s a great tipper.

Alex finishes making the cocktail and places the drink in front of Ryder who takes a appreciative sip and nods approvingly but in a absent-minded way. He is still thinking about the girl.

RYDER

Be right back.

Alex just shakes his head in mock disbelief and turns to another customer.

Ryder walks up to the brunette and assess her again. She is just as stunning up close as she is afar. She looks up at him, and gives him a questioning look.

RYDER

Hi. Ryder. Author and Mojito-lover.

Ryder raises his cocktail in a mock salute to her. The girl laughs at the short introduction.

RYDER

Mind if I order you another drink after I catch your name?

The girl pauses for a beat before giving in to her curiosity. She smiles back at him, coy and impressed.

SARA

Sara. Journalist and Martini-aficionado.

Ryder looks over at Alex and wink, while holding up a single finger and gesturing to Sara’s near empty drink. He turns his attention back to her and settles into the chair beside her.

RYDER

Journalist huh? You look like you’ve just finished writing a massive article and are trying to relax. Anything interesting?

Sara gives Ryder a coy smile. She settles back into her chair and takes a sip from her martini. She’s enjoying the control she has over the conversation.

SARA

Sign up to the Guardian and you’ll see my column in a couple of days.

RYDER

The Guardian! Please tell me you’re not a reviewer because my book got savaged by a columnist there.

SARA

No, I’m an investigative journalist. You wrote a book? Which one?

RYDER

A crime story, Melbourne Noire.

SARA

Really? I’ve read that. It’s not bad, a little bit too soap-opera for my taste but it’s pretty good.

Ryder smiles and cocks his head graciously. He nurses his drink and considers his next step carefully.

RYDER

If you don’t mind me asking, but if you’ve just finished writing a big investigative piece, why are you celebrating alone?

SARA

Can’t a girl have a drink on her own?

RYDER

Sorry to say this, but you’re much too attractive to be left alone. Foolish men wishing to get burnt like me are always going to bother you. You could have chosen a quieter place to celebrate and the martinis here are good but not stellar. What’s really going on?

SARA

A bit impetuous, don’t you think? We barely know each other and you’re already psychologically analysing me.

Sara gives Ryder a skeptical look but maintains strong eye contact. Ryder doesn’t miss a beat.

RYDER

How else are we supposed to get to know each other? One of us have to play the journalist and the other the subject.

SARA

Or I could just thank you for the drink and wave goodbye.

Sara gives Ryder a look to say she isn’t fully serious but is considering it. Ryder gives her his best thousand-watt smile and settles back in his chair, clearly enjoying the banter.

RYDER

Yes I suppose you could do that … *pauses* but … I suspect you won’t.

SARA

Oh? and why is that?

RYDER

Because it must be nice to be the one being interviewed for once, not the other way around.

Sara laughs and leans in closer to Ryder. He matches her movement and they both look at each seriously. Ryder raises a questioning eyebrow and Sara chuckles again and lean back, looking off into the distance.

SARA

OK, fine. *sighs* It was a very long day at work today. But not for the reason you think. (looks over at Ryder) My boss said a couple of inappropriate things and delayed my article for a week over an argument I had with him. So I’m not really in the mood to be interviewed or analysed.

Ryder’s smile fades and he takes on a much more concerned expression. He knows when to call it quits

RYDER

Ah shit. Well, I’m sorry to hear that. I guess the last thing you want then, is more unwarranted male attention. It was a pleasure to meet you Sara. Drinks are on me.

Ryder stands up before Sara can respond to the contrary and gives her a sympathetic smile combined with a casual shrug, before simply walking away.

Sara is dumbfounded by the casual dismissal and the easy going way how he took her rejection. She looks after him, intrigued by his maturity.

Alex walks up to Sara and put down a coaster and places a martini in front of her.

ALEX

From the gentleman that just left.

Sara looks down at the drink and laughs wryly. On the coaster is a phone number and elegant script that reads:

I’m available for an interview anytime. R

She picks up the coaster, fans herself slightly, and lifts her martini in the direction Ryder left and takes an appreciative drink.

Author’s Note

This screenplay took me over 4 days to design. I just couldn’t nail the rhythm and tone of the characters and I think re-watching the flirtatious scene between Will Smith and Eva Mendes in Hitch (2005) messed with the way how I wanted the characters to speak.

I finally unlocked the code when I actually tried to act it out in reality, how I would approach an attractive journalist and the lines and wit, I deploy to get into her good graces. This simple act of pretending to be Ryder, leaning at a bar, finally made the two characters come alive and hence their interplay shone much brighter than my terrible 2000 word draft before.

Being a poor flirt in reality probably also didn’t help, as it is hard to convey body language through dialogue. A rule I discovered though, is that anything said can be flirty, it just comes through in the way how you say it and your body language.

So I tried to focus more on body language and getting down little gestures that I expect actors to do whilst saying my dialogue. I think this is an improvement and looking back at the overall script, I’m pleased I did that, because it looks much more concise now. Each line has more meaning and you can really see how this might be a quick 5 minute flirtatious sequence on screen.

I must thank my only patron for giving me such great feedback and for subtly encouraging me to get better. Her main issue was that my screenplay involved too many lines and not enough gestures and pauses as would be seen in a real script.

The next one I am writing will be challenging, as I will be obeying 48HR Film Project rules. Stay tuned for that!

~ Damocles

Date Advice (Screenplay)

The Social Network (2010)

EXT. APARTMENT BALCONY – TWILIGHT

Two young men are sitting on the balcony of a nice apartment. The city lights below them play across their faces and the occasional sounds of horns and marketplaces booming blast through the air. It is approaching nightfall, but there is just enough light to spark a deep conversation. Both appear relaxed, although WILL is noticeably more loose than JOHNNY.

There is an assortment of beer and snacks on the small table between them and Johnny is furiously going through them at a high rate of fire. He seems preoccupied with other things, his thoughts apparent across his handsome Asiatic face.

Will, a lean cowboy type, leans back in the rocking chair and takes a slow drag from his cigarette, taking care to blow the smoke away from Johnny.

WILL

Come on man, relax. You still got 2 days before you gotta meet her. I didn’t bring you out here to my apartment just to stress out.

JOHNNY

You know me, man, I want things to be perfect.

WILL

Why stress man. It’s just a date. Just go and have fun.

JOHNNY

Unlike you, Mr. Bachelor, I don’t swap women every fortnight. So there is a lot more pressure on me. I want to make sure the person I find is the right one.

WILL

I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.

Johnny rolls his eyes and sigh exasperatedly. Will was obsessed with books. In the time they had known each other, Will’s only true passion was reading.

JOHNNY

OK, where is that quote from?

WILL

Henry David Thoreau.

JOHNNY

More light reading?

WILL

Haven’t found a women under covers as good as the words between paper covers.

JOHNNY

Well I’m still trying to find a woman to join me under the covers. So any pro tips?

WILL

Well you could start by not agonising how bad things will go on a date that hasn’t happened yet.

Johnny laughs nervously and is about to pull out a cigarette from Will’s pack on the table, when he stops himself.

WILL

Still trying to quit?

JOHNNY

Yeah. This isn’t helping. Anyway, I was looking for some real advice. Come on Will. I know you have the Bachelor lifestyle. Teach me.

WILL

If you are going to seduce someone, go for her sister first.

Johnny spits out his beer. Spluttering, he looks at Will with incredulity. Will looks back with a smirk and adopts a wise air and blows out more smoke.

JOHNNY

What the hell bro? Seduce her sister first? What have you’ve been reading lately?

WILL

Machiavellian stuff. But I digress. Just have a good time man. Wine and dine. It’s not that hard. When was your last date again?

JOHNNY

Over two years ago.

WILL

Shit, it’s been that long?

JOHNNY

Come on man, work has been a bitch.

WILL

Yeah but two years?

JOHNNY

I just haven’t had much luck on apps bro. Things are always getting cancelled or something pops up.

WILL

Yeah but like ….. two years without a date? Give me your phone bro.

JOHNNY

Why, what do you want to see?

WILL

Just hand it over man.

Johnny reluctantly pulls out his phone and unlocks it for his friend. Will stares intently at the screen, and after an agonising couple of minutes, mouths “What the Fuck” several times. He looks back at Johnny and shakes his head.

WILL

Bro … why didn’t you tell me about this shit sooner. Holy fuck. You actually can’t talk to women. You sound like the biggest simp on the planet.

JOHNNY

What!?!? Come on man, I …

WILL

“The way how you look, remind me of a princess in medieval times. Allow me to be your knight.” Johnny come on man … that’s just stupid. Who talks like that? Don’t tell me you’ve been reading some dumb guides on reddit or something. How come you didn’t come to me sooner?

JOHNNY

I dunno man. You always seem to have it so easy with women. I was jealous. I thought the goal was always to be nicer to the girl than be a jerk?

WILL

You dumbass *laughs* Just talk to her like you would to me. Girls are human man. OK, show me which one of these poor girls agreed to go on a date with you.

Johnny leans over and scrolls up to a girl called April. Will clicks on the DMs and has a quick skim over. As he suspected, it was April who did most of the talking, so Johnny lucked out and didn’t get much of a chance to be a simp.

WILL

You’re so lucky man. She did most of the work for you. She must really like what she sees. See? When you talk normally, you score a date. Just don’t be an idiot and start spouting this bullshit in reality.

JOHNNY

I don’t really get what you mean though, by talking normally. Should I not shower her with compliments?

WILL

Do you give me random compliments every 2 seconds? No. So don’t give it to girls either. You can say one nice thing about what she is wearing then move on about something else. Like, actually talk to her about what she likes? It’s kinda that simple.

JOHNNY

Really?

WILL

Yeah, man. Just treat her like a person you want to get to know better. That’s all it is. Dating is as simple as that, trying to make human connections. Don’t force any romance, if you don’t feel like it.

JOHNNY

Is that what you do?

WILL

Yeah usually.

JOHNNY

And it works?

WILL

Why do you think whenever you come over, you find random feminine items? It sure as hell ain’t me using them.

Johnny falls silent and ponders his friend’s advice. He reflectively sips on his beer and has finally stopped stress eating.

JOHNNY

You know, it’s funny. We couldn’t be any more different you and I. You’re broke, you spend half your days drinking, smoking and reading and yet can get any woman you want. I’m over here, super tired, stressed, working long hours and with more money than I need, but I can’t seem to find any partners. Isn’t it funny how life works?

WILL

You know, sometimes I get jealous too, of how comfortable you seem to live. You get to wear good clothes, buy expensive gear and drive a nice car. But that’s life you know? I live a bohemian lifestyle man … scrapping by with my shitty bar tending job and a whole lot of books, booze and bitches. I’m not as smart as you, at least not in the same way, but I guess I make up for it in other ways.

JOHNNY

Ain’t it sad how stereotypical we are? I’m the Asian with zero social skills and a high paying job and

WILL

I’m a lazy Englishman who writes occasionally but whiles his life away with endless distractions. Let’s face it bro, I’m gonna be dead by 50, due to liver failure and lung cancer, laughing in hell while you’ll be married to this Alice chick with a beautiful family and completely miserable.

JOHNNY

*laughs* yeah that about sums it up.

WILL

Here’s to hell. May the stay there be as enjoyable as the way there.

Will raises his beer and Johnny raises his own in response. The two friends clink glasses and finally the atmosphere is less uptight. They settle back and watch the city in silence.

JOHNNY

Since when was it a crime to be a simp?

WILL

Ah … shut up bro.

Author’s Note

I’m not too happy with this one.

But then, if I keep resisting failures, I can never improve.

Not every screenplay needs to pass my exacting standards and I need to keep up the practice of pushing onwards even when I feel like it is too meandering and pointless.

This one was originally meant to be a deeper exploration into the dichotomy in how Asians and White people view life and act accordingly, but it ended up being too philosophical and having massive chunks of dialogue that no one in their right mind would actually say aloud. Think perhaps, but not espouse aloud.

I even had the original script being set on the veranda of some country home, but then quickly discarded the idea, because then it would feel too slow.

Better to have this discussion against the backdrop of a city, where things feel a bit more urgent and better paced.

All in all, I consider this one a bit of a let down, from the previous one Dinner for One in terms of pace, quality of dialogue and an actual conclusion.

This … just felt very pointless. But then some cinema thrive of precisely that, doing something that means nothing and maybe a talented director can make something out of this.

(I think a hack like Hong Sang-soo could make something out of this tripe I just wrote. I still shudder thinking about his 2016 film, Yourself and Yours and the horrific dialogue … melons are sweeter but watermelons are just so much more refreshing. God, what a waste of time that film was.)

Damocles.

Dinner for One. (Screenplay)

In the Mood for Love (2000)

INT. RESTAURANT – EARLY EVENING

The restaurant is small, intimate and expensive. There are few patrons and plenty of bored, but professional staff waiting attentively to people’s needs. It is dark, but well lit by candlelight and soft amber lights.

In the corner table, a romantic candlelit dinner for two is in progress. BOYFRIEND and GIRLFRIEND are making their way through their main course. There is an air of familiarity, almost routine between the two of them. It is romantic, but not necessarily honeymoon romantic. They’ve been together for a long time.

The Boyfriend is enjoying his meal, but the Girlfriend seems to be drinking more than she is eating. Her food is barely touched, whilst the Boyfriend is nearly half way through his.

BOYFRIEND

What’s wrong? You’re not eating.

GIRLFRIEND

Yeah I am. What do you mean?

BOYFRIEND

Usually you eat a lot more than this. You’re playing with your food. What’s really going on?

The Girlfriend pauses and she evades the gaze of the Boyfriend. The Boyfriend cocks his head to the side and wonder what is really going on.

BOYFRIEND

You’ve been hinting something has been wrong for the past couple of hours. Do you mind telling me?

The BOYFRIEND is greeted with silence. The Girlfriend avoids his gaze and takes another sip from her cocktail.

BOYFRIEND

Come on, darling. What is wrong?

The Girlfriend sighs. She doesn’t want to discuss her personal feelings. She isn’t ready.

GIRLFRIEND

I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about this right now.

BOYFRIEND

Yes you do. Come on. Just say it. I won’t get mad, I promise. You’ve been holding out on me this whole date.

GIRLFRIEND

I can’t.

BOYFRIEND

Come on … don’t make me guess ….

Silence wraps around both of them. The atmosphere is now noticeably awkward. The Boyfriend has an earnest expression, wanting only to help the Girlfriend. The Girlfriend is silent. She can’t make eye contact. She flits between his eyes and the floor. Anywhere but her Boyfriend’s face.

BOYFRIEND

Is it really bad?

The Girlfriend nods meekly. She still doesn’t trust her voice. She plays with her drink on the table.

BOYFRIEND

You’re not pregnant are you?

The Girlfriend shakes her head vigorously. She seems oddly angry about that accusation.

GIRLFRIEND

You really think I could hide something like that from you? No, of course not.

The Boyfriend looks at her in consternation. He’s still confused. Then the answer dawns on him. The moment he realises, the Girlfriend knows the gig is up. Her facial expression switches from defensive to guilty.

BOYFRIEND

It’s another guy isn’t it?

The Girlfriend nods her head slowly. The Boyfriend breathes in deeply and exhale in a long sigh.

BOYFRIEND

Did you sleep with him?

GIRLFRIEND

Not yet. I mean, no. I won’t.

The Boyfriend raises an eyebrow in response to the wording.

BOYFRIEND

How long has this been going on for?

GIRLFRIEND

Since the start of the pandemic.

This time, it is the Boyfriend’s turn to fall silent. He stares at his Girlfriend and sees the truth in her guilty expression. He remembers his previous promise.

BOYFRIEND

I know I said I wouldn’t get mad … but … but …. the start of the pandemic? Really? That’s like 6 months. What happened?

GIRLFRIEND

I don’t know … I …

BOYFRIEND

Stop saying that. You know what you did and how you feel. Please, stop saying “I don’t know.” Just tell me the truth. That’s all I really want. It’s OK if you fell in love with another guy. I just want to know how and why. We’ve been together for nearly 4 years now … I get it if things have started to get stale between us. Just tell me why you chose this guy over me.

GIRLFRIEND

OK. OK. Just give me a minute. I’m sorry.

The Girlfriend reaches for her drink and take in some liquid courage. She is breathing shallowly, clearly it is difficult to express herself. She motions a pleading “wait” gesture to him. The Boyfriend nods silently and lets himself soak in the ramifications. He motions the waiter over.

BOYFRIEND

A whiskey, neat. Thank you. Can you also get some tissues? My friend is just struggling with something at the moment.

The Girlfriend is on the verge of tears. She is struggling for control over her emotions. She makes a grateful gesture to him and dabs away the tears pooling at the corner of her eyes. They sit in silence until the waiter delivers the whiskey a few minutes later. The Boyfriend takes a sip and savours the burn, letting it melt away his rage.

GIRLFRIEND

The stupid thing is … I was only interested in this guy, because he reminded me of you.

The Boyfriend makes an incredulous expression and splutters over his water a bit. He laughs incredulously.

BOYFRIEND

What?

GIRLFRIEND

I know. It’s so stupid. I can’t believe I am telling you this, but he even has the same name as you.

BOYFRIEND

You cheated on me with … another me?

GIRLFRIEND

I only kissed him once. But I got so confused after that I ended up calling it off and we haven’t really talked since.

BOYFRIEND

So you ended up going on a date with him? How many?

GIRLFRIEND

Four.

BOYFRIEND

During quarantine? How? Actually who is he?

GIRLFRIEND

A work mate. We got close during quarantine because we had to pull shifts every day. I ended up working a lot more closely with him and getting to know him better. We hung out a lot after work and during lunch breaks.

BOYFRIEND

You liked him because it reminded you of us when we first started dating. Isn’t that right?

GIRLFRIEND

A bit. I’ve been feeling this rift between us for a while now. I think we know each other too well and I can’t help but feel a bit of the magic has gone. I’ve dated you for so long, it’s hard for me to feel sexy or wanted again. I know it sounds stupid, but it is because you haven’t done anything wrong. You’ve been amazing and understanding and so kind, but it is so …

BOYFRIEND

Boring?

GIRLFRIEND

Yeah a bit. Compared to all my other girlfriend’s lives, you seem so simple and considerate. I guess I also missed me, back then, being more in love with things … life.

BOYFRIEND

This guy … is he simple and considerate?

GIRLFRIEND

No actually. He’s really wishy-washy. I feel a bit like I am being toyed with. He’s actually a bit of an asshole.

The Boyfriend gives a wry smile. He is genuinely and morbidly curious as to how calmly he is dissecting everything. Even his own love life.

BOYFRIEND

Isn’t that better? Isn’t this what you were missing?

GIRLFRIEND

No, it make me angry. I couldn’t sleep properly for days. I still don’t know for sure if he likes me.

BOYFRIEND

Didn’t you guys kiss?

GIRLFRIEND

It was a spontaneous thing. I broke away first. It was a bit too forced. I was still really confused about the whole thing when he made that move on me. I wasn’t even sure if we were on a date. (pauses) Wait, hold on, how come you aren’t more mad?

BOYFRIEND

I’m not sure myself. I guess I always kind of knew you might one day go for another guy. You were always more flirtatious than me. I mean, come on … you were always the better looking out of the two of us.

GIRLFRIEND

You predicted I would cheat on you?!

BOYFRIEND

I guess.

GIRLFRIEND

Wooow. You don’t trust me?

BOYFRIEND

I guess I didn’t trust that everything I did would be perfect for you. I always had this niggling feeling that we were compatible, but not all the way. But I wanted to make this work, so I ignored it.

The Girlfriend pauses and thinks about what the Boyfriend said. Even now, when most people expected apoplectic rage, he was remaining calm and introspective. Even going so far as to blame himself slightly for her indiscretions.

GIRLFRIEND

I won’t lie to you, I guess I had similar feelings. There was always this weird rift between us. I guess it took me cheating to open my eyes about it all. It doesn’t excuse what I did though. I’m really sorry about everything. I should have told you earlier but … I guess I needed time to figure everything out.

BOYFRIEND

So what now? Do you want a break?

GIRLFRIEND

Do you? I’m the one who messed up here. I get it if you want to call us off.

BOYFRIEND

Before I answer that, are you going to see that guy still?

GIRLFRIEND

No, I’m going to find another job. I can’t stand being around him. Things are just too awkward at work, and I don’t like being played. He can’t make up his mind. It’s annoying. Why do you ask?

BOYFRIEND.

Just wanted to make sure you’ll be OK. I don’t like the idea of you going out with an asshole that is me but isn’t me. But since you aren’t … if you don’t mind, can we take a break? My head is still struggling to process everything. I know I should be mad right now, but I’m also really calm. My heart doesn’t know which way to go. Let me pay the bill and we’ll both go home.

GIRLFRIEND

OK. Can I ask you for one last favour?

BOYFRIEND

What is it?

GIRLFRIEND

Do you mind if I kiss you, one last time?

BOYFRIEND

Yeah, of course. We still have 4 years of history between us.

They both stand up and she kisses him softly on the cheek and linger near his ears.

GIRLFRIEND

Thank you. Once again, I’m so sorry. I know it isn’t much but I do mean it.

The Boyfriend is silent but gently caresses her cheek. All is forgiven. He moves to pay the bill, and you can tell that the romance between the two has faded.

The relationship is now friendly. They both walk out of the restaurant, and give each other one last hug. It is tight, lingering and melancholic.

The Boyfriend and Girlfriend then part in different directions.

Author’s Note

I felt like writing some dialogue heavy scene. This was inspired by something I had always imagined in my head, a mature, non-toxic way to settle differences between a man and a woman.

I am sick of seeing/reading awful ways to end a relationship and wanted mine to be different by allowing both sides to come to a sad, but necessary conclusion to a journey. It becomes more melancholic and wistful, instead of being drama heavy.

I hope I managed to translate via dialogue, how both the Boyfriend and Girlfriend went from being more concerned with each other, due to their long relationship, to being merely friends in the middle then complete strangers at the very end.

Expect more screenplays from me in the future, as my friends are now pushing me to experiment with film more.

I hope this dialogue seems natural to read aloud!

Damocles.

Worker (Screenplay)

maxresdefault

Half-Baked (1998)

INT. RETAIL STORE – MID AFTERNOON.

A struggling franchise store, in a quiet shopping centre. It’s well lit, bright and features items you would see in a $2 shop, only slightly upmarket.

It’s Asiatic themed, and neat, tidy and well organised. It’s a store you see once, explore once and forget the moment you walk out. Despite it’s blandness, there are customers milling around.

At the register is WORKER. Average height, build and looks, he is bored and tired. Eager to go on lunch break. He stares aimlessly at customers, and shakes his head to respond to queries, too lethargic to open his mouth.

EXT. SHOPPING CENTRE

A couple storms through the empty centre. Mid-50s, belligerent and stubborn, the WOMAN is pulling the man along, her hand gripping tightly onto the RETAIL STORE’s bag. The MAN has a supportive expression. Of the pair, the MAN is clearly the meeker one.

INT. RETAIL STORE.

WOMAN

Excuse me. Hello?

WORKER

Hi, welcome to …

WOMAN

Look, so I bought this a while ago.

The WOMAN hoists the bag onto the counter in haste. She pulls it open to reveal a humidifier.

WOMAN

However it has stopped working. I’ve tried everything but just stopped.

WORKER

So …

WOMAN

Soo …. I want a refund.

WORKER

Do you have a receipt for this item?

WOMAN

Here.

The receipt is faded and barely legible. The only visible part of it is the logo at the top. No date. No record of the item.

Worse, the Worker hasn’t seen the item in over a year. Making it ineligible for a refund. He is, hungry, bored and tired. Vindictiveness and passive-aggressiveness is now his standard solution to these type of customers.

WORKER

I’m sorry Ma’am, but I cannot give you a refund.

WOMAN

Why not?

WORKER

Because this receipt it too faded.

WOMAN

It’s not my fault that your receipts fade quickly. I bought this humidifier, and that’s the receipt that came with it!

WORKER

There is no date on this receipt. Do you remember exactly when you bought it?

WOMAN

I do’t know. Like a couple of months ago?

The Woman looks back at the Man indignantly.

MAN

Yeah … a couple of months ago, for sure.

WORKER

Are you sure about that? Because I have not seen this item on our shelves in over a year. How did you get this item, if it has been out of stock for nearly a year?

WOMAN

No, no, no. I bought this from your store a couple of months ago.

WORKER

That seems very unlikely.

WOMAN

Unlikely? Excuse me?

WORKER

As I said, we haven’t had this item in over a year. I am quite aware of what is on our shelves.

WOMAN

Where’s your manager?

WORKER

am the manager.

WOMAN

Oh you are? Well I have to say your customer service needs a lot of work. So are you going to offer me a refund or exchange or not?

WORKER

I’m afraid I cannot offer you a refund or an exchange.

WOMAN

This is unacceptable! I bought the receipt, and the item is broken.

WORKER

Both the receipt and the item have gone past our warranty policy. I’m sorry but I cannot offer you a refund.

WOMAN

What is your name!?

The Worker pauses before answering. He decides to give a fake name.

WORKER

Ben Over.

WOMAN

What was that?

WORKER

Benjamin … Over.

WOMAN

Well Ben. I will be taking this up with centre management and your company. I want your company email address. This has been a disgrace. I will never shop here again.

The Worker scribbles nonsense onto a receipt page. He is clearly enjoying himself too much.

WORKER

There you are.

WOMAN

This is pathetic. I can’t read this.

WORKER

I can.

The Woman brings her husband over. She wants support. She won’t get it.

WOMAN

Can you read this?

MAN

Yeah I think I can.

The Woman sighs. Her husband is useless.

WOMAN

FINE. FINE. Thank you. You’re going to hear a lot from me soon. Ben.

WORKER

Okay. Thanks for coming by.

WOMAN

URGH.

The Worker watches as the couple disappear. Shaking his head, he smiles to himself and goes back to being bored.

Author’s Note

Inspired by numerous retail experiences.

~ Damocles.

 

Just Aged By A Decade (Screenplay)

Ishizuka – Melbourne CBD. One of the best designed basement restaurants to grace Melbourne streets.

INT. JAPANESE RESTAURANT – EVENING

A high-end Japanese restaurant, with ultra modern aesthetic. It’s cold, utilitarian, dark and sterile, like the sushi that is currently being eaten by the two men.

The whole setting is intimate, with a sharp bright light over the two men like a halo, casting the rest of the restaurant in shadow and it is very quiet, only the tinkle of sake cups against tables, chopsticks scraping against ceramic, small sighs of satisfaction.

One is younger, slick, slim, and sharp. He has an intelligent face, and oozes confidence, maturity and ruthlessness. A man at the top of his game.

The other man is older, mysterious and quiet. Salt and pepper mark his dark hair, crow-feet at the edges of his eyes. A professional on the verge of retirement. They are both suited and serious.

Their dialogue’s tone is serious and respectful.

YOUNG MAN

What do you think?

OLD MAN

What do I think? I think you should take it.

YOUNG MAN

Reason?

OLD MAN

It’s too lucrative not to. Jobs like these come once in a lifetime. You’d be a fool not to take it.

YOUNG MAN

I’d be a dead fool if I do.

OLD MAN

You’ve done jobs. You’re aware of the risks. Mitigate them.

The Young Man falls silent. He stares down at his plate. Pondering. The Old Man continues eating his sushi, thoughtfully dipping the raw fish into a soy sauce plate, savouring the flavours.

YOUNG MAN

If you were me, would you do it?

OLD MAN

I am you, just aged by a decade. Why else do you think I am telling you to do it?

A sharply dressed WAITRESS swings by with a bottle of sake

WAITRESS

Would you like a refill gentlemen?

Both men nod and wait for the Waitress to finish pouring before resuming their conversation. The Young Man fishes into his blazer and takes out a nicotine patch, applying it on the inside of his wrist, just past his expensive watch.

The Old Man nods approvingly.

OLD MAN

How is it going?

YOUNG MAN

Withdrawal symptoms are abating. The doctor says I’ll be off these inside of 2 months.

OLD MAN

Impressive, considering your habit.

YOUNG MAN

*grunts dismissively* This job proposal isn’t helping me.

OLD MAN

We’ve done this routine before. What’s gotten you spooked this time?

YOUNG MAN

It’s Zurich. Rules are different when you deal with gnomes.

OLD MAN

Reason?

YOUNG MAN

Did you read through the dossier I sent you?

OLD MAN

Of course.

YOUNG MAN

That’s your reason.

The Old Man pauses for a moment and looks off, recalling the important details in the brief the Young Man made. The Young Man fidgets with the nicotine patch, his discomfort with the job obvious.

OLD MAN

Your main concern, are the people?

YOUNG MAN

Yes. Zurich isn’t a place where you can be anonymous. The gnomes that guard the gold, aren’t just bankers. They got families that help them. Secrecy and privacy aren’t just nouns over there, they’re a religion and a culture. I might get past the front door, but there’s no way I can sneak out the back door, because the back door is a whole goddamn country.

The Old Man stares through the Young man and gives a small knowing smile.

OLD MAN

You’ve never tried a long con?

YOUNG MAN

No. *pauses* How long are we talking here?

OLD MAN

Enough for those patches to be gone forever.

The Young Man raises his eyebrow in bewilderment and amazement. He stops fidgeting with the nicotine patch.

YOUNG MAN

Just so we are on the same page here … you want me to plan a job that will last 2-3 months?

OLD MAN

It’s been done.

YOUNG MAN

Doesn’t this just increases my chances of getting caught?

OLD MAN

It can also decrease your chances.

The Young Man mulls the thought over. The patch is forgotten. His hands are still. The Waitress swings by again.

WAITRESS

Would you gentlemen like dessert?

The Old Man smiles at her.

OLD MAN

I will have a couple of your freshly made mochi rice cakes. Green tea and red bean. My colleague here, will have a serving of Yamasaki Whiskey strawberries. Thank you.

The Waitress curtsies and walk away. The Young Man begins to ponder more on the Old Man’s proposal, his curiosity getting the better of him.

YOUNG MAN

2-3 months. That’s basically double the length of my normal jobs. Planning and execution. I’m going to need funding.

OLD MAN

The client shouldn’t complain, if they want you in Zurich.

YOUNG MAN

This is something I’ve never attempted before. A long con, in a foreign country. There are lot of things that could go wrong and not to mention the inexperience involved.

OLD MAN

Throughout my career, I’ve lost a lot of blood to cover for any mistakes you might make.

YOUNG MAN

In this length of time, I could do 4 scores.

OLD MAN

This is a lifetime opportunity. A career definer. Men like us, can do these jobs and become legends. Stories that ring for eternity. How else did you find me?

The Young Man thinks back to when he first met the Old Man. He smiles in recognition.

YOUNG MAN

The Windsor Job. Are you implying, that this will be my Windsor Job?

OLD MAN

*shrugs* Depends on your gnome’s French and German.

The Waitress comes around and plates the desserts in front of them.

WAITRESS

Enjoy gentlemen.

The Young Man feels inspired after taking a bite of the whiskey-soaked strawberries. He looks up at his mentor with renewed respect and a cunning expression creeps across his intelligent face.

YOUNG MAN

What would you do?

The Old Man nods approvingly. Now they were getting somewhere. Progress was being made.

OLD MAN

Always start with a woman …

Author’s Note

A big piece of criticism I got from my previous screenplay was the lack of dialogue and the fact that if felt too much like a novel.

I took that to heart and got to reading more screenplays. Especially a lot more Tarantino.

Reading his work, really allowed to realise that I should just trim, trim and trim more and more, until it becomes a very bare-bones affair. Screenplays are stories that have the bare minimum, but maximum impact.

So I tried to work on dialogue and really flesh out the characters more.

I feel like this reads a bit clearer than my first attempt and am praying my dialogue isn’t too stilted.

I still got a long way to go before I can match anything written by Baumbach, Sorkin or Tarantino.

But I feel like I got a better grasp of what it takes to write a screenplay.

I think?

If not, it’s back to reading more and more. Because the only way to improve writing is to read.

~ Damocles.

RIDER (Screenplay)

The Girl with the Dragon tattoo (2011)

BLACK SCREEN

RIDER (V.O.)

Give me the time, give me the location. I’ll be there.

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHTFALL

We see a map of a coastal Mediterranean town, and weapons on the table. The RIDER is talking on the phone, his face obscured by a distinctive black helmet. He is a lean figure in black motorcycle leather with red accents. He is standing at the window, staring out at the town and the ocean.

There is a hint of annoyance in his posture and voice. The room is darkly lit and a TV plays in the background, flashing strange shadows and lights across his helmet. It has an air of a cheap motel room. Temporary and anonymous.

RIDER

No. I don’t require backup.

Muffled sounds come from the phone, as the RIDER packs his things.

RIDER

No. I’m going dark now.

The RIDER hangs up and switches the phone completely off. Tossing it into his duffel bag, he lifts it onto his shoulder and leaves the room, closing the door behind him.

EXT. ROAD

The RIDER is weaving smoothly and deftly through traffic. The European city is beautiful, picturesque and traditional. Old-styled houses reflect off his helmet and there is only a hint of his narrowed green eyes beyond the visor.

His all-black motorcycle is quiet and powerful, and he takes a sudden turn off the main road and goes up a cobblestone alleyway, slowly making his way to higher ground.

INT. LUXURY YACT

The yacht is expensive, modern and tacky in all the right ways. Onboard, there are sounds of revelry and good times. It is anchored in the sea, lit up and loud.

A trim, fit, tanned, brutal RUSSIAN is dressed casually in shorts and a loose polo. He is expensive, rich and tough, eyeing his birthday party with a cool, professional eye. Women in glamorous dresses come up and wish him well. Men offer handshakes. He gives them all iron smiles.

Behind him, stand 3 bodyguards, suited and alert. The RUSSIAN nods to one of them. He is done with the party. He wants to come ashore. BODYGUARD 1 touches his earpiece.

BODYGUARD 1 (in Russian)

The Wolf wants dinner.

EXT. DOCKS

CHAUFFEUR, smoking a cigarette out of boredom, touches his earpiece and hears the call in his slick Mercedes and sticks his hand out the open window.

CHAUFFEUR 2 does the same. The two of them turn on their headlights and stand outside the doors, waiting for the RUSSIAN to arrive.

EXT. ROAD

RIDER watches them, from high ground and scans the route from the docks to the restaurant with his binoculars. A loud ship horn blares and he watches as the RUSSIAN leave the ship, and walk to the two Mercedes, where BODYGUARD 1 climbs into the first car with the RUSSIAN, whilst BODYGUARD 2 and 3 climb into the second with CHAUFFEUR 2.

Putting away the binoculars, RIDER kick-starts his bike and begin riding down. We see a compact suppressed MP5K submachine gun strapped to the side of his bike and side view of him weaving through traffic at dizzily fast speed.

We see the distinct headlights of the two car convoy ahead. The RIDER closes in.

INT. MERCEDES

The RUSSIAN looks out of his window. The lights of the city is attractive and a shopfront catches his interest. He looks back and sees the RIDER pull alongside the second Mercedes behind him, and open fire.

THUD. THUD. THUD.

A brief pause, as the RUSSIAN tries to process what happened, during which CHAUFFEUR 2 slumps over and crashes into a series of parked cars, deafening the previous silence with car alarms. The RUSSIAN turns to CHAUFFEUR 1 with a cold, and serious expression.

THE RUSSIAN (in Russian)

Go. Safehouse Alpha.

CHAUFFEUR 1 (in stressed Russian)

Alpha. Copy.

BODYGUARD 1 (in Russian)

All Units. Wolf convoy is under attack. I repeat, Wolf Convoy is under attack. All units converge of Alpha Safehouse NOW.

The RUSSIAN reaches into the door of his car and pulls out a P90 PDW, and permits himself with a smile.

BODYGUARD 1 does the same and the three of them duck, as the RIDER fires into the car, rounds shattering the rear lights.

EXT. ROAD.

We see helmet view of the RIDER, as he merges, ducks and weave through traffic.

Cut to gun-cam, as the MP5K continues to fire, punching holes through the rear window.

Cut to helmet-cam as the RIDER ducks his head as he sees return muzzle flashes from the interior of the car, as the RUSSIAN fires back.

The perspective changes again, as we watch the RIDER take evasive action against oncoming traffic, trying to move his bike ahead of the Mercedes.

The Mercedes suddenly swerves off the main road and hightails it up the hill.

RIDER

SHIT!

Cut to helmet-cam. Yanking his bike hard to the side, he chases after them, but looking down at the centre of his bike, he looks at the GPS and instead of following them down a fork, he goes an adjacent route.

INT. MERCEDES

The RUSSIAN looks behind them and frowns.

RUSSIAN (in Russian)

He’s gone. Drive faster.

CHAUFFEUR 1 does as he is asked, punching the gas and the car blasts along the alleyway at speed.

Everything seems OK, with BODYGUARD 1 even relaxing a little, when he is suddenly splattered with blood.

CHAUFFEUR 1 slumps over, a neat hole in the side of head and BODYGUARD 1 realising what is about to happen, tries to grab the wheel but it is too late.

EXT. ROAD

The Mercedes crunch into a tree, and the body of BODYGUARD 1 smashes through the windshield and lay on the smashed bonnet. The engine is still ticking over. There is no sign of the RIDER, but you can hear his motorcycle engine getting louder and louder.

The RUSSIAN, gasping and shocked, undoes his seatbelt and kicking open the door, staggers out.

He is still clutching the P90 and shaking his head, hearing nothing at all, taps the side of his head.

Suddenly the roar of a motorcycle becomes all consuming and he looks up …

Cut to helmet-cam, the RIDER is bearing down on the RUSSIAN and with a hard brake, does a forward wheelie and SMASHES the RUSSIAN hard across the face with the still spinning back wheel, and sending him flying back into the crashed Mercedes.

The RUSSIA, slumped over and shocked, looks up at the RIDER, clad entirely in black, and aiming a MP5K a him, and asks a slurred question.

RUSSIAN (in Russian)

Why?

The RIDER says nothing and cut to gun-cam, shoots him twice in the chest and once in the head, before strapping the gun to his bike and accelerating away.

The attractive Mediterranean coastal town yellow lights cast over the RIDER’s helmet and we slowly pan away and up, as the opening credits show the RIDER slowly disappear and merge into the city.

OPENING CREDITS.

~

Author’s Note:

So this is my first ever attempt at a proper screenplay.

It was very difficult to adequately tell a story, as well as convey little emotional notes for actors and express technical details on how a film should best tell this story.

I have absolutely zero experience in film, or film writing. This is just a mental exercise that I thought would be fun to attempt. So I looked up some screenplays from movies I liked, such as Gone Girl (2014), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), and The Dark Knight (2008) for inspiration.

It was very difficult for me to apt the style of screenplays, because I usually let my stories take control of themselves. But this time, it was a conscious effort to dictate the pace and style of the events instead of running rampant with certain details that I would normally embellish if I was telling this kind of story.

A lot of details I skipped, because screenplays are meant to do that. We do not need to pain a picture of the world. The film is meant to do that for us. It is a visual medium after all. So a lot of it is meant for the director to put in his/her imagination and decide what location, cast, crew, camera angle, type of bike, exact colour of clothes etc.

The screenplay just helps visualise the sequence of events that you can “play” in your mind.

This was a lot of fun, so I will probably attempt more of these in the future. Especially if I want to participate in the 48Hrs Film Project again.

~ Damocles